my first stab at a graphic kinda style

An old character redesigned, again

Goodness! So much has been going on! I feel ashamed of myself for not updating here.

It’s always so helpful to put myself into a writing sort of mood, but honestly I haven’t had the time! And normally when I say I’m busy it’s a half-excuse, but for the past 2 months, at least, it’s been completely true. 😛

Life has been like this for a while now.

So late last year I was approached by an independent children’s book writer who runs a site supplying free children’s stories on the web, one of which has been picked up by an independent publisher. He effectively opened a call for entries, and I won the bid! My first published work as a professional artist! Excitement!

The book is called the Journey of the Noble Gnarble, and it’s about a little made-up sort of fish who lives on the bottom of the sea, who dreams of seeing the sunshine. Can you say right up my alley? If all goes as planned, it’ll be printed and on bookshelves by Fall 2011. So, here’s a few sneak peeks of some of the double spreads:

His friends tell him he can't do it, but he's all, F*** YOU GUYS!

And lo, the Gnarble travelled through many lands...

fuuuuuu, this one took forever XD

That giant thing isn't going to play any role in the story whatsoever.

Kindof a spoiler, but I'm pretty sure you were expecting it 😛

So over the past 6 months I’ve been working closely with the author and the publisher’s designer to nudge the illustrations into a good spot. I designed all the characters and helped a little with the title typeface design – that was super challenging! There were a few stops and starts, technical malfunctions, miscommunications, and some emotional rough patches, but I had good friends and colleagues to keep me on track and encouraged! I like to think I gained a good chunk of experience – being a freelancer doesn’t seem nearly as scary. 😀

In addition to this, I’ve been working with another author, this time a guy who’s intending to self-publish a series of young adult Fantasy novels, called the Winterlark Series. More work to come soon on that, though!

Kylie is basically a girl Harry Potter who can talk to magical animals.

I also participated in a local art show for a gallery in San Francisco, the theme was meant to bring art by game developers into a fine art setting. It was definitely an interesting experience dealing with a gallery, but I don’t think I’ll be dealing with one again until my name actually means something. XD

For the show, I was convinced that everyone needed to know what whales and dolphins looked like 30 million years ago. Unfortunately, they put my piece all the way in the back of the gallery under the stairs, so no one cared. And yes, it’s still for sale!

Pakicetus was kindof like an ottery wolf with hooves that lived in prehistoric Pakistan, which was a giant swampy delta back then.

A bunch of ancient whales from different stages. These are not direct descendants.

I joined a blog that is an exploration of mythological and folkloric critters – some of which are quite awesomely poorly known! Some of my submissions to the Alphabestiary:

The Angha is a Persian manifestation of universal wisdom

The Bush DaiDai is a nasty thing from Guyanan folklore.

The Dobhar-Chu is an Irish lake monster, basically a giant otter. I didn't want to draw a giant otter.

My lady creature-making compatriots Brynn Metheney and Allison Theus, and I began a creature design project together – it might become a book, who knows! Right now the project is still in its infancy since we’re all three so busy, but hopefully more will come about soon! We were also interviewed about the project, and our very similar, yet distinctive work, by Mike Corriero for an artists’ spotlight via the Art Academy Character and Creature Design Notes Blog.

You can read the interviews HERE. Some of the work I’ve done for the project:

A giant filter feeder. The juveniles are more active predators.

Social pack-based plains hunters, a female with a new litter and last year's remaining daughter.

Nudibranch-based critter

Nudibranch-based critter

And lastly, THE OTHER BOOK. The prehistoric one where kinda-myself travels back in time with kinda- my little brothers. Well it’s still underway, but having worked so long on the Gnarble, I can’t help but notice that my drawing skills have substantially improved (by force) over the past 6 months. I’ve done some good work on the Dinosaurs Before Bedtime paintings, but I’m tempted to redo them. I wasn’t organizing the book properly, I had no layouts, and I had no text to work with. I’d often start paintings on a whim and flub in the illustratey details as I went along. With what I’ve learned from working with someone else’s text, that’s not very smart, and doesn’t make for a sellable product.

I did, however, get a few more of the paintings up:

Clifford and Clive arrive in the Cambrian

Dunkleosteus attack! Don't worry, though, Chloe's GOT THIS!

That last painting actually made it onto ImagineFX’s front page! I’m internet famous!

Turrill Attack! yeah that's pretty accurate.

So, I’m not entirely sure what’s next. Aside from taking a few small sketch and quick-paint commissions on DeviantArt, I’m definitely warming to the freedom and the diversity of work that comes with being a freelance illustrator, and so far I do enjoy working on small publishing projects. Even when it’s been hard, it hasn’t had the same soul-sucking feeling that my prior game industry experiences have had. So we’ll see if I give that industry another chance for the sake of job security and the ever-elusive perfect art team, or if I wind up sticking it out alone. I’m open to being convinced by either, or, and both!

Hopefully my next update won’t be so far off, but you can always follow more timely posts on my Facebook, and my Tumblr.

Cheers, cuties!